Men Charged with Extortion & Threats to Mall Kiosk Operators
Las Vegas, Nev. – One local man and three California men have been charged with attempting to extort money from two former business partners, following a dispute over the ownership of a beauty products business which operated in kiosks at Las Vegas-area casinos and shopping malls, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Moshe Barmuha, 37, of Studio City, Calif.; Yakov Cohen, 24, of Las Vegas; and Ruslan Magomedgadzhiev, 30, and Murad Magomedgadzhiev, 26, both of Tarzana, Calif., are charged in an April 27, 2010 indictment, which was unsealed on April 30, 2010, with attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats and violence, and interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering enterprises. They are all in federal custody in Las Vegas, and are scheduled for trial beginning June 21, 2010. If convicted they face up to 25 years in prison.
According to the court records, from about September 2009 to April 5, 2010, the defendants allegedly conspired and attempted to extort money from two men, identified in the indictment as M.O. and M.K., through force, violence, and fear. In July 2007, M.O. and M.K. operated several kiosks in Las Vegas-area casinos and shopping malls at which they sold electronic products such as hands-free microphones. In early 2008, M.O. and M.K. began expanding their business to include retail women's cosmetics and skin care products, and entered into a partnership with Cohen, a competitor who also operated kiosks in Las Vegas-area casinos and malls. During the next year, the men got into a business dispute, and M.O. and M.K. alleged that Cohen was stealing and cheating them and terminated their business relationship with him. Following this dispute, the defendants allegedly began threatening M.O. and M.K. and attempted to extort money from them. Specifically, Barmuha is accused of traveling from California to Nevada on about September 12, 2009, to threaten M.O. and M.K. and to aid others who had threatened them, if M.O. and M.K. did not satisfy an extortion demand. In September 2009, Barmuha allegedly participated in a three-way telephone conversation with Cohen and M.O. to threaten M.O. On about October 19, 2009, Cohen allegedly traveled from Nevada to California to meet Barmuha and to threaten M.K., and on January 8, 2010, Ruslan and Murad Magomedgadzhiev allegedly traveled from California to Nevada and threatened M.K. and physically assaulted M.K. while he was walking to his vehicle, which was parked near his residence in Las Vegas.
The investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Los Angeles Police Department, and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.